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Minimalism, Strategies for Minimalist Living

Strategies for Minimalist Living: Control Your Stress By Owning Less

Hello my friends from Finland, the UK, Sweden, Australia, North Carolina, Ohio, and all my Buddies near and far! Welcome!

Minimalistic Strategy - Relieve Stress, Buy Less

After making some not-so-wise purchases lately (like my 32 gig iTouch — But I love that little thing though!), I want to give you a few words of advice. Be very mindful when making a purchase! You want to keep your level of stress and that overwhelmed feeling to a minimum. The more stuff you own, the more stressed you’ll be. Everything you buy has a “cost’ associated with it over and above what you see on the price tag. Your purchases can leave you overwhelmed, stressed out, worried and broke, with no free time left to write your autobiography, post to your blog, update your resume, or spend time with your kids. The item you want may cost way more in lifestyle adjustments than you are prepared to make.

I’ve identified 7 stress-elevation factors you should consider before making any purchase:

1. Debt Facilitation Factor. Making monthly payments, remembering to pay it, time spent going on line or to the post office to pay the bill, making deposits in your bank account to cover the bill, working to pay the bill, buying stamps and envelopes to mail the bill, paying late fees, reviewing the deluge of emails and junk mail generated by these purchases.

2. Emotional Attachment Factor. Now that you’ve bought it, you cannot bear to part with it because (1) you’ve’ wanted it for a long time; (2) you’ve envied someone else for having it; (3) you feel very important and special now that you have it; (4) someone begged you for it, thereby validating just how important an item this is.

3. Additional Costs Factor. Computer software and repairs, video game dvds, monthly cable bills, mobile broadband cards, gas, tolls, parking tickets, speeding tickets, external hard disk drives, anti-virus protection fees, spray starch, replacement parts, and more.

4. Maintenance Factor. Lube jobs, oil changes, replacement parts, dry cleaning bills, Laundromat bill, laundry detergent costs, electricity and hot water for the dishwasher, washer and dryer, jewelry cleaning, and piano tuning. The list is endless.

5. Space Allocation Factor. The amount of space an item takes up in your abode or driveway. A piano would have a significantly higher space allocation factor than a pair of shoes.

6. Time Drain Factor. Facebooking, tweeting, web surfing, excessive TV watching, playing video games, buying apps, movies, games, and tv series from the Apple Store, and reading magazines and newspapers on Kindle.

7. Worry Factor. You might lose it, someone might steal it, the cat might use it as a hockey puck, the dog might bury it, your kids might break it, or the bank might repossess it.

8. Law of Diminishing Use or the Dusk Collection Factor. Are you really going to use that stationery bike or treadmill after you’ve owned it after 3 months.

Factor all these in while you’re in the check out line, and you might just put that plasma screen tv right back on the shelf where you found it.

Can you think of any other brain draining, energy sapping or money exhausting factors that can drain the lifeblood out of you? I’d love to hear from you

Keeping it easy and breezy,

Vita Reid
Twitter: @vitareid

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About Vita Reid

"You cannot Change What You Will Not Confront." T.D. Jakes. I am a 1993 graduate of Smith College, having majored in Psychology with a minor in Mathematics. I lived in Lawrence House during my senior year. I am an ardent bridge player and soon-to-be expert. My motivation to declutter, minimalize and clean my apartment began 10 years ago when I visited my friend's minimalistic apartment in Manhattan. He owned nothing. My motivation to speed the process of down-sizing my possessions along is fueled by a desire to entertain a world-class bridge player at my home during the world games to be held at the Marriott Hotel on Market Street in Philadelphia in October 2010. Being that I will be working almost exclusively from home when my voice over career flourishes, I would like to make my apartment pleasing to my own eye. Since clutter can also be an impediment to creativity, I find it essential to rid myself of it so that I can develop more creativity in many areas of my life, including at the bridge table, my blog posts and developing creative marketing strategies for my voice over business. This blog represents a diary of my genuine feelings moment by moment as I make the transformation from 12 years of disorganized clutter to owning only the bare essentials of life. May you find a few nuggets in the writings to inspire you in your life's journey. Keeping it easy and breezy in the land of less, Vita Reid The One Minute Minimalist

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Strategies for Minimalist Living: Control Your Stress By Owning Less

  1. I’m thinking something along the lines of usefulness and quality factor here. Aside from the “do I need it or do I want it” issue that is combined with most things we buy, and it mostly ends up being a want.

    On the one hand you have the search for quality, we all want to sit in the front row, without paying top prices. But why wouldn’t the second row be good enough? For a long time I always sought out the best of the best, refusing to use lesser things. But now I’m very content with my few things (Trying to get rid of most of my possessions) I don’t own a Macbook for instance. Although it’s a really nice looking computer, I don’t need all that computing power on the go. Most people who own a computer don’t use it’s full potential. It’s the same with cars, sound systems and whatnot. Would you really notice the difference?
    (Okay and I own a very powerful desktop, more powerful than a macbook but much cheaper, just because I don’t need the mobility/power combo)

    A while back while looking into a piece of hardware I came across a brilliant “rule” If it costs ten times as much to gain 10% in performance, it’s just a wast of money.

    What’s your take on this one?

    Greets, Christiaan

    Posted by ChrisitaanH - Mind the Beginner | March 17, 2010, 6:06 PM
    • A mere 10% gain in “useful” performance is definitely key. I agree with the whole concept. Best wishes to you Christiaan, and thanks for visiting my blog. Would you like to do a guest post?

      Posted by Vita Reid | May 21, 2011, 6:59 PM

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